Courtney Devine has been working in Amsterdam for more than two years. Desperate now to return to Perth, the Australian woman was left with no choice but to set up a “Go Fund Me” page to raise the $10,542 needed to book a flight home and pay for hotel quarantine on arrival. She still then had to wait six weeks for the next available flight due to Australia’s international arrival caps. Courtney considers herself lucky because there are other stranded Australians – some who are now homeless – who have no prospect of returning home soon.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced after yesterday’s National Cabinet meeting that from 27 September, there will be a staggered increase in the number of Australians that can return to the country to around 6,000 people per week. This is a welcome step forward and will definitely help to clear the backlog of Australians stranded overseas. But with at least 24,000 Australians currently stranded – and perhaps closer to 100,000 by airline estimates – it may not be enough.
In Episode 45 of the AFF on AIR podcast, Matt shares the stories of Courtney Devine and other Australians stuck in the Netherlands. The arrival caps, it seems, are only part of the problem. The more immediate issue is that those Australians in the most vulnerable positions, who can least afford to remain overseas, are the same people that can least afford to pay an extortionate ticket price to get home. Buying an Economy class ticket is not an option with many airlines indefinitely bumping Economy class passengers off flights in favour of those who paid more for a premium ticket. Some airlines have stopped selling Economy tickets altogether.
Also in this episode, Norfolk Island is open for tourism from five Australian states, and will also reopen next month for travel from NSW and ACT! If you’re keen for an overseas holiday, a trip to Norfolk Island is one way to do this without technically leaving the country.
Listen now to AFF on AIR Episode 45: “Vulnerable Australians Stranded Overseas”
You can also view the episode notes. If you’d like to discuss this episode, ask Matt a question or suggest a topic for a future episode, you can join the discussion on the AFF on Air Discussion thread.
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